The Ultimate Choice: How Charter Authorizers Approve and Renew Schools in Post-Katrina New Orleans
A policy brief by Whitney Bross and Douglas N. Harris on Charter Authorization and Renewal Decisions
The number of charter schools in the United States is rapidly growing. Behind this trend is the idea that providing schools with more autonomy, coupled with more intense accountability, will lead to innovation and better results. If charter schools fail to perform, then a government-designated authorizer can potentially close them down or turn them over to another school operator.
The approach to opening and closing charter schools is quite different from traditional public schools. For more than a century, public schools have been governed and actively managed by local school boards and districts, which opened and closed schools based mainly on total district enrollment, district finances, and local politics. The approach is so different with charters that policymakers needed a different word, authorize, to define it. Charter authorization creates a very different process for opening and closing schools and may open up school leadership to newly emerging non-profit and for-profit charter operators.